DA urged to increase guarantee fund for farmers, fisherfolks
The Agriculture Fisheries Alliance has urged the Department of Agriculture (DA) to increase its guarantee fund so that many small farmers and fisherfolks nationwide could avail especially those that have been heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the recently held dialogue with DA Secretary William Dar, AFA outlined several issues, one of which was on guarantee fund, which the group believes should be given importance so that more farmers could be extended with financial aid and could go back to farming.
Roberto Amores, Director of PCCI’s Agriculture Committee proposed that DA should expand its Agricultural Guarantee Fund Pool (AGFP) and make access to credit easier for small farmers and fisherfolks through the Small Business Guarantee and Finance Corporation. PCCI and Philexport signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to make loans easily available for their members.
Danilo Fausto, President of the Philippine Chamber of Agriculture and Food Inc (PCAFI) said that the proposal to increase guarantee fund could be done by collaborating with the Philippine Guarantee Corporation (PHILGUARANTEE)) through the Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC). Both PCCI and PCAFI are convenors of AFA.
The group also said that DA should develop a program similar to Land Bank’s new lending mechanism called I-RESCUE (Interim Rehabilitation Support to Cushion Unfavorably-affected Enterprises by COVID-19) to help farmers and fisherfolks with focus on family lending.
Meanwhile, AFA will develop specific action plans to restore agri-agra lending to small farmers, fisherfolk, and Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries (ARBs). It will also submit strategic plans on the commodity roadmaps that DA is currently updating.